Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat (王瑞傑) yesterday announced additional support measures of S$8 billion (US$5.84 billion) to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, extending wage subsidies and aiming to shore up the hard-hit aviation and hospitality sectors.
The new set of measures, announced almost three months after the last package, adds to Singapore’s total pledged pandemic aid of almost S$100 billion, Heng, who is also minister of finance, said in a taped speech.
While Singapore has managed to bring virus cases under control, the global economy “remains very weak,” Heng said.
“We must continue to adapt to the rapidly changing situation. We designed our measures to give us flexibility for adjustments as the crisis progresses. Some of these measures are ending soon,” he said.
The latest measures would not require any additional use of past reserves beyond what was already approved, Heng said.
Unused expenditures from earlier budgets would help fund the latest measures, allowing the government to narrow the projected budget deficit this fiscal year by S$100 million since the fourth package was announced in May, to S$74.2 billion.
Further support was deemed necessary as the city-state has fallen into a technical recession, retail and hospitality sectors are struggling to recover from months of mobility restrictions, and officials have warned of further retrenchments through year-end.
Singapore’s economy shrank a record 42.9 percent on an annualized basis in the second quarter from the previous three months, data last week showed, with Singaporean Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (陳振聲) warning there could be “recurring waves of infection and disruption.”
Export figures released yesterday showed tentative signs of recovery in July, with non-oil domestic shipments jumping 6 percent from the same time last year, beating estimates for a second straight month.
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